A Night with Ama & Chan

May 5, 2011

Last night, I went to the opening night of Ama & Chan featuring Effie Nkrumah as the an eccentric Ghanaian woman married to Chinese born Alan Lao.
Before the show, we were greeted in the foyer by Ama & Chan. They effortlessly worked their way around the foyer starting up conversations and eventually led us into the auditorium.

The Ghanaian and Chinese culture are very strong cultures, and don’t like compromise. So the idea of Ama & Chan being married, will surely raise eyebrows and make curious about how it works. I must admit that when I hear of someone who is part African and part of a very strong culture like South East Asian or South European, lots of questions start to arise in my head. Of course the questions are due to my ignorance, because I rarely see that kind of combination in Australia.

The production circulates around two major events. The couple moving into their dream and their new cooking show, where they actually prepare meals live on stage. Imagine Laksa and Fufu!!! I am still getting shivers down my spine at the thought of that crazy combination. However, I did like the idea of Jellof rice with duck. I actually wanted to try it!!! Ama & Chan are quite extremists of their culture, which makes them fight every 50 seconds of the minute yet, and for the 10 seconds left in the minute, you get a sense of their companionship, quirkiness and hard love.

Alan and Effie met whilst studying preforming at university. They both are highly talented people with a vast amount of screen and theatre experience. But now they have fused their creative juices and produced something with an enormous amount of depth delivered in a light-hearted enjoyable way!

“The project allows us to share aspects of out culture often neglected by mainstream media. We see this as a necessary thing to do to cater for the audiences who are not being catered for”

– Effie Nkrumah & Alan Lao

Relevant stereotypical examples are commonly used boosting audience engagement. Like Cabramatta being the place to buy the Asian groceries and Blacktown (due to the large African population and not the name of the suburb) being the place to do African hair. If you live in Sydney you would laugh because you would know this, even if you probably had never visited the suburbs in your life!

I laughed at literally everything and then I would stop and think. ‘If I heard this somewhere else, I wouldn’t be laughing at all!!!’

Ama & Chan will be running until May 14 at Bankstown Arts Theatre Centre.


  • Anonymous

    I would like to see this , do you think it would possibly crossover to TV because I think it should, especially for those of us who aren't living down under


    I was thinking about that as well when I was watching the production. Thank you for bringing it up. I will find out!!!


    To Anonymous…At the moment, Ama & Chan won't be released on DVD or posted online. However, I am currently harassing Effie about it and she will look into it!

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